God’s "Gentile” Message to Peter through Visions

A young believer facing the choice of obeying the call of God to the mission field or to continue in a rewarding and comfortable business position once consulted a veteran missionary. He explained how clearly God had called and yet how hard it was to make the choice to go. The mi … More

Vision

Before Cornelius could be welcomed into the Church, Peter had to learn a lesson. Strict Jews believed that God had no use for the Gentiles. Sometimes they even said that help must not be given to a Gentile woman in childbirth, because that would only bring another Gentile into the world. The next day after Cornelius’ vision, while the three men were getting near to Joppa, Peter went up on the flat roof of Simon’s house to pray (v. 9). While he waited for the noon meal to be served, he saw the heavens opened and a great sheet let down by four corners. In this sheet were all sorts of ceremonially unclean animals being let down from heaven (vv. 10-12). Suddenly a voice commanded: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat” (v. 13). Facing a choice Peter responded, “No Lord, I have never eaten anything common or unclean” (v. 14).  The Lord spoke to him again and said, “Do not call what God has cleansed unclean” (v. 15). The sheet was taken up toward heaven, and let down again three times; then it was taken up (v. 16).

Peter had lived as an orthodox Jew all of his life. The “clean and unclean foods” belief was a major problem between Jews and Gentiles in that day. God was not just changing Peter’s diet, but his entire program. The Jew was not “clean,” and the Gentile “unclean,” but both Jew and Gentile were “unclean before God.” God’s timing is perfect, and the three men at the door arrived just when Peter was thinking about the meaning of the vision (vv. 17-22) . He was used to open the door of faith for the Jews in Acts 2, he was used to open the door of faith to the Samaritans in Acts 8; and now he was used to open the door to the Gentiles in Acts 10. The Gospel of Christ was to include everyone.

Application

God has opened the door of salvation to all, and He has given me a vision to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to everyone I can. How am I going to do that? The only way that I can fulfill this is by praying, giving, and going. There is a chorus that says: “He wants me to pray, to give, and to go, that the whole world may know about Jesus.”

Acts 10:9-22 (English Standard Version)

The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray. And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth. In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. And there came a voice to him: "Rise, Peter; kill and eat." But Peter said, "By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean." And the voice came to him again a second time, "What God has made clean, do not call common." This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven. Now while Peter was inwardly perplexed as to what the vision that he had seen might mean, behold, the men who were sent by Cornelius, having made inquiry for Simon's house, stood at the gate and called out to ask whether Simon who was called Peter was lodging there. And while Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit said to him, "Behold, three men are looking for you. Rise and go down and accompany them without hesitation, for I have sent them." And Peter went down to the men and said, "I am the one you are looking for. What is the reason for your coming?" And they said, "Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man, who is well spoken of by the whole Jewish nation, was directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and to hear what you have to say."

View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »

More Acts commentaries

Acts 9:19b-31
Previous Persecutor Begins Preaching Ministry

Acts 7:1-8
Stephen’s Sermon–God’s Covenant of Circumcision to Abraham

Acts 7:9-19
Stephen’s Sermon–Abraham’s Promised Descendents

Acts 7:20-29
Stephen’s Sermon–Moses Identifies with God’s Chosen People

Acts 7:30-43
Stephen’s Sermon–Moses’ Mandate From God

Acts 7:44-53
Stephen’s Sermon–The Bold Conclusion!

Acts 7:54-60
Stephen Stoned to Death for his Faith

Acts 8:1-8
Persecution Scatters Believers / Philip Boldly Preaches

Acts 8:9-25
Simon Seeks and is Denied the "Spiritual” Gift of Healing

Acts 8:26-40
Ethiopian Eunuch Evangelized by Philip

Acts 9:1-9
Saul’s "Damascus Road Conversion” to Paul

Acts 9:10-19a
Ananias is Available to Disciple Saul–a New Believer!

Acts 9:32-43
Peter Used by God in Joppa to Heal Beloved Dorcas

Acts 10:1-8
Cornelius–A Religious Man on a Mission for God

Acts 10:9-22
God’s "Gentile” Message to Peter through Visions

Acts 10:23-33
Peter Meets Corneilius

Acts 10:34-48
Peter Preaches to Cornelius Household

Acts 11:1-18
Peter’s Defense to the Legalists

Acts 11:19-26
Barnabas Seeks Saul to Help with Discipleship

Acts 11:27-30
Antioch Believers Send Encouragement to Jerusalem

Acts 12:1-11
Continual Prayer Brings Results

Acts 12:12-17
Prayers Answered – Oh We of Little Faith!

Acts 12:18-25
God’s Judgment on King Herod (Agrippa I)

Acts 13:1-3
Barnabas and Saul Commissioned for Missionary Service

Acts 13:4-12
Saul (Paul) Confronts a Sorcerer at Cyprus

Acts 13:13-31
Paul and Barnabas Say Farewell to John Mark

Acts 13:32-41
Paul Preaches the Gospel Including Christ’s Resurrection

Acts 13:42-52
Gentiles Receptive to Paul’s Message – Jews Become Envious